Fencing shows out at Midwest Open, takes home seven medals

Team puts their competition on notice at midseason tournament



The women’s sabre team poses with their gold medals following the Midwest Open on Dec. 15

On Dec. 15 the fencing team competed at Culver Academy in the Midwest Open.

The team placed well considering the tough competition that came from all across the midwest. The team took home a gold, a silver and five bronze medals.

Many members finished in the top eight. Senior Katia Tsytsarina finished 2nd, and junior Eva Goren finished 3rd in women’s sabre. Senior Amelia Jacobson placed 3rd in women’s epee and Junior Daniel Lai finished 3rd for men’s sabre.

While the three disciplines of foil, epee, and sabre all practice together, the players can only compete with opponents of the same discipline in tournaments, which can make events like the Midwest Open hectic.

Senior Emma Chipman explained how the bracketing system of these competitions works.

“Tournaments are formatted with ‘pool’ rounds where we are put into groups of five to seven fencers, and we all fence each other. We are then seeded and put into direct elimination rounds which are like brackets,” said Chipman.

The Culver tournament serves as a check-point in the middle of the season. Senior Thomas Criswell knows the significance of the Midwest Open, which was made up of a range of ages and levels of experience that had come together.

“It is easily one of our most competitive and talent studded tournaments of the year and something we have marked on our calendars from the start of the season,” said Criswell.

This long-awaited tournament upped the intensity of practices of Colby Vargas, who is the head coach for both girls and boys fencing. Criswell noticed a new trend in the way Vargas led practices as the

tournament approached.
“Practices leading up to the

tournament and this year in general have definitely increased in intensity. Our head coach, Mr. Vargas, has put more of an emphasis on cardio and weightlifting than we’ve done in past years,” said Criswell.

The team is expecting good things for the end of the season. When comparing this season to last, Junior Lizzy Marino sees great promise for

the future.

“Last year, my team [women’s epee] went undefeated against all 14 other teams in the Midwest fencing conference, so I have high hopes for this year,” said Marino.

Looking to the end of the season, New Trier will host state in February, but the state competition is going to look a little different. Instead of it being focused on individual fencers, the focus will be on the team as a whole. The team is looking to bring home a big win this year.

“Unlike previous years, this season’s state meet will be a team meeting instead of an individual meet, so I am hoping for my team to win,” said Marino.

Everyone is looking to a successful end to the season. Chipman believes that this is the strongest team yet, and that the season can only go up from here.

“I think the team is super strong this year to be honest. Our main rivals are Stevenson and Culver, but we’ve been doing pretty well against them as a whole. Our biggest achievements haven’t really come yet, we’re waiting for Conference champs,” said Chipman.

Criswell credits this success to the younger side of the team. He sees fencing as a sport that requires time and dedication and the underclassmen are bringing that to the table.

“This sport has a very steep learning curve with a lot of your success directly correlated to the time you spend practicing. The fact that we have so much success at the younger level is really a testament to their work ethic and time each one of them has put in,” said Criswell.

Junior Eva Goren used the Culver Midwest Open as an opportunity to reflect on the first half of the season. She has seen some great performances and great growth in the overall team. She looks forward to the rest of the season.

“We are halfway through our season and we are doing very well. Women’s varsity has been undefeated in team tournaments. This year has been going well and our team captains are great,” said Goren.